Kundapura is the headquarters town of the taluk is about 36 kms from Udupi. This name can be traced to the Kundeshvara temple built by Kundavarma in the vicinity of the Panchagangavalli river. Kundapur is also described as the “town of the sun”. It has another old temple, that of Mahalingeshwara. It was the principal port of the Rajas of Baindoor who came to prominence after the decline of the Vijaya Nagara power. The Portuguese settled here in the 16th century and built a fort. A well-built redoubt constructed by Haidar Ali commands the entrance to the river. After the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the town was taken over by the British. There was once a tank of fresh water near the town in which was bred a special type of fish said to have been exclusively reserved for Tipu Sultan.
The taluk of Kundapur is well blessed with more rivers than any other taluk of South Kanara. It has also a 45 kilometre long sea coast on the western side extending up to its northern boundary. The bridge at Gangolli is the longest in the district. The Kundapur taluk has played a significant role in evolving the Yakshagana dance-drama of the northern school known as badagutittu. Kundapur is the only taluk of the district where bisons are found in its forests. They are very powerful animals and move in herds of ten or so. Leopards sometimes prove destructive to livestock and wild boars to agriculture mainly in the forest areas.